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Coronavirus - 30th June


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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jun 30 2020, 06:57

Summary for Tuesday, 30th June

  • As cases soar in the US, more states decide to halt easing lockdown measures
  • Arizona abruptly reverses course on reopening its economy as coronavirus cases spike there and nationwide
  • With July 4 celebrations approaching, Texas and parts of California also direct bars to close again
  • The EU names 14 countries whose citizens can enter from 1 July, but the US, Brazil and China are excluded
  • A new strain of flu that has the potential to become a pandemic has been identified in China
  • Stricter lockdown measures have been announced in the British city of Leicester because of a rise in cases
  • Globally there are 10.2m cases and there have been more than 504,000 virus-linked deaths

Hello and welcome to today’s rolling coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
Six months since the virus was first reported to the WHO by China, it has claimed at least half a million lives. There have been more than 10 million reported cases worldwide. In several places, restrictions on movements that were being lifted are being put back in place causing further economic anxiety.
As ever this page will bring you all the latest developments from around the world and analysis from our correspondents and other experts, as well as advice on how you can protect yourself and others.

Arizona reverses course on reopening

The US state of Arizona is one of the US states reversing course on reopening its economy due to a spike in cases.
The state’s governor has ordered the closure of bars, nightclubs, gyms, cinemas and water parks. The directive will last until at least 27 July and also prohibits gatherings of more than 50 people.
Governor Doug Ducey warned: “We’re not going back to normal any time soon”.
It comes after the state set a single-day record for new coronavirus cases on Sunday at 3,858.
Read more here

EU reveals 14 countries deemed to be 'safe'

The European Union (EU) has revealed 14 countries whose citizens are deemed “safe” to be let in from 1 July.
Those on the list include Australia, Japan and South Korea.
However the US, Brazil and China are excluded from the list. Diplomats say that the EU is ready to add China if the government offers a reciprocal deal for EU travellers.
The EU procedure to formalise the list, and criteria by which countries are judged safe or not, are to be finalised by midday on Tuesday.
Read more here

New flu with pandemic potential found in China

Scientists in China have identified a new strain of flu that has the potential to become a pandemic.
It emerged recently and is carried by pigs, but can infect humans, they say.
Researchers are concerned that it could mutate further so that it could spread easily from person to person.
While it is not an immediate problem, they say, it has "all the hallmarks" of being highly adapted to infect humans and needs close monitoring.
As it’s new, people could have little or no immunity to the virus.
Read more about the new discovery here

WHO warns worst could still be to come

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned the worst could still be to come in the Covid-19 pandemic.
WHO leader Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned the virus would infect many more people if governments did not start to implement the right policies.
He said his message remains "Test, Trace, Isolate and Quarantine".
More than 10 million cases have been recorded and 500,000 people have died since the coronavirus emerged in China last year.
The virus is now spreading rapidly in Latin America and is also badly affecting South Asia and Africa.
Read more about the warning from the WHO here

Australian states lock out Victorians

South Australia and Queensland have cancelled plans to open their state borders to all Australians as an outbreak in Victoria gathers pace.
Victoria has recorded double-digit increases in infections each day for two weeks, including 64 in the past 24 hours.
The cases - concentrated in several areas of Melbourne - have become Australia's biggest concern in almost three months.
Fears are growing that the outbreak could spread to other states, all of which have far fewer or no infections.
In announcements today, South Australia cancelled plans to fully reopen its borders on 20 July, while Queensland said it would open on 10 July but not to Victorians.
Though her state remains open, New South Wales Gladys Berejiklian told locals today: "Do not allow anyone from a hotspot in Melbourne or from greater Melbourne to come into your home - you have the right to say no."
Australia has had more than 7,500 cases in total and 104 deaths.

Two India states lock down as cases rise

More on those lockdowns coming back in around the world.
India has officially entered the second part of its "unlocking" phase but two states on Monday announced that they were locking down again.
Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have become the latest to go back into lockdown mode as the entire country battles against rising infections. The two states will be in lockdown until 31 July, officials said.
A few other states like West Bengal, Jharkhand, Nagaland and Assam have already announced lockdown measures.
States across India have been on high alert as cases appear to be growing at an alarming rate. According to local media, the country added around 100,000 new infections in just the past week . Daily infection spikes have been on the rise too - with nearly every other day's count a new record.
More than 18,000 fresh cases were reported in the last 24 hours in India, taking the total tally to over 565,000 including 16,893 deaths.

UK PM to announce £5bn infrastructure scheme

The UK PM Boris Johnson is expected to announce plans to "bring forward" £5bn ($6.1bn) of spending on infrastructure to boost the economy.
Johnson will be in the West Midlands on Tuesday where his team have said he'll say he wants to use the coronavirus crisis "to tackle this country's great unresolved challenges".
The prime minister's speech comes as BBC analysis found that the UK was the hardest hit of all the G7 major industrialised nations by the virus in the weeks leading up to early June.
In April, the UK economy shrunk by a record 20.4% as a result of the spread of coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown measures.
You can read more about the government's plans here and we'll bring you analysis and reaction through the day.

Virus overwhelms war-ravaged Afghan hospitals

As the coronavirus spreads in Afghanistan, the cracks in the country's healthcare system - already weakened by decades of war - are starting to show, the BBC's Secunder Kermani reports.
Concerns have been raised about the supply of oxygen and other resources to government hospitals. One doctor in Kabul described patients' families having to "fight for oxygen" when cylinders arrived, before bringing it to the intensive care unit themselves.
Another doctor told the BBC even staff members at his private hospital were unable to get their own family members treated.
"A doctor rang and said, 'One of my relatives is having breathing problems, we are sending him to you, please admit him.' I asked him for forgiveness… We couldn't look after his relative, so think what happens to ordinary people who come here?"
Read more from Secunder here: Coronavirus overwhelms Afghanistan’s war-ravaged hospitals

Human trial of India coronavirus vaccine announced

Volunteers in India will be immunised with a new locally made coronavirus vaccine in July.
An unspecified number of people will have the vaccine, as part of a trial by Hyderabad-based firm Bharat Biotech.
Tests in animals suggest the vaccine is safe and triggers an effective immune response.
The trials are among many across the world - there are around 120 vaccine programmes under way. Half a dozen Indian firms are developing vaccines.
This is the first India-made vaccine and developed from a strain of the virus that was isolated locally and weakened under laboratory conditions.

Lockdown tightened in Leicester as cases rise

Leicester has become the first place in the UK to have tighter lockdown measures reimposed because of a rise in coronavirus cases in the city.
Non-essential shops are to close from today and schools will be closed to most pupils from Thursday.
The reopening of pubs, restaurants and hairdressers - due to take effect across the rest of England from Saturday - will not happen in the city and in surrounding areas.
Leicester City Council said the new "stricter lockdown restrictions" would be in place for "at least two weeks".
Our political editor Laura Kuenssberg says the move is "a reminder that the risk to our health from the coronavirus crisis is neither gone, nor forgotten". Read her full analysis here .

Indian man dies after frantic hospital search

A 52-year-old man has died in the southern Indian city of Bangalore after going to 18 hospitals and calling up 32 more looking for treatment.
The man had complained of breathlessness and was running a high temperature over the weekend.
After nearly 36 hours of visiting and calling up hospitals and pleading with them to admit him, one hospital finally agreed. But before they could take him in for treatment, he died "at the doorstep of the hospital," the man's nephew told the Times of India newspaper .
Even though he was tested, his family are still waiting for the results.
"We don't know whether our uncle was infected with Covid-19 or if we lost him to an atmosphere of fear created by the virus," the nephew said.
Bangalore has been in the news recently as cases have started to climb. A big, metropolitan city, it had managed to avoid the surge of infections being seen in other cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. But this might be changing as it added nearly 1,000 new infections over the weekend.

What's the latest?

Hello and thanks for following our live coverage of the global pandemic. If you're just joining us, here are some of the biggest recent developments:

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jun 30 2020, 11:17

Scottish school cleaners 'don't feel safe'

In Scotland, more than 1,700 school cleaners, janitors and support staff have written to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon saying they don't feel safe at work and are being put at risk every day.
This letter will be given to the Scottish Parliament, signed by staff who call themselves "the workforce that seems to have been forgotten".
"We have continued to look after the children of other key workers and vulnerable children, have continued to feed them and provide personal care, cleaned up after them and made sure their environment is nurturing and safety," the letter says. "We have done this with love and with little regard for our own health and safety."
The letter says staff must be given the right PPE [Personal Protection Equipment], better pay and that guidelines must be more robust.
Read more: School cleaners, janitors and support staff 'do not feel safe'

Local lockdowns 'may become regular occurrence'

Laura Kuenssberg - Political editor
UK ministers have been clear for some weeks that the possibility of "local lockdowns" was very real.
And the announcement from the health secretary on Monday evening was not just to put the brakes on easing of elements of the lockdown, he has also reversed some of changes that have already been made: closing non-essential shops again, and schools.
It is not a small ask of the people of Leicester, a major city, to watch the rest of the country progress, while they have to go into reverse for now, to protect everyone's health.
But this kind of on, and off, measure may become a regular feature of how the government tries to manage the infection as the months pass.
Read Laura's full analysis.

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Coronavirus - 30th June Empty Summary of updates from The Guardian today:

Post by Kitkat on Tue Jun 30 2020, 11:29


by Helen Sullivan - The Guardian
30th June

The World Health Organization is sending a team to China next week in connection with the search for the origin of the virus that sparked the global pandemic. The WHO has been pressing China since early May to invite in its experts to help investigate the animal origins of the coronavirus.
“We can fight the virus better when we know everything about the virus, including how it started,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference.
Tedros also said that the pandemic had brought out the best and worst humanity, citing acts of kindness and solidarity, but also misinformation and the politicisation of the virus. Unless international unity replaces fractious division, “the worst is yet to come. I’m sorry to say that,” he said.
“With this kind of environment and condition, we fear the worst.”

  • Cases near 10.2m. The known number of cases worldwide stands at 10,199,798, with 502,947 deaths recorded, according to Johns Hopkins University figures.
  • Pandemic “not even close to being over” - WHO chief. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing: “The hard reality is that this is not even close to being over. Although many countries have made some progress globally, the pandemic is actually speeding up.”

  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York on Monday called on Donald Trump to “put a mask on it” and sign an executive order requiring people to wear face coverings in public. Cuomo told the president, who has consistently refused to wear a mask in public, to “lead by example” and wear one himself to stop the surge in new coronavirus cases.
  • Los Angeles County recorded an “alarming” one-day spike of nearly 3,000 new Covid-19 infections on Monday, taking its total to more than 100,000 cases, public health officials said, warning that hospitals could soon be overwhelmed.
  • Canada is over the worst of the coronavirus outbreak but a spike in cases in the United States and elsewhere shows Canadians must remain vigilant as the economy reopens, prime minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday.
  • New Jersey governor Phil Murphy said on Monday indoor dining will no longer resume on Thursday in the state as previously planned, and will instead be postponed “indefinitely.”
  • The British government on Monday imposed a lockdown on the city of Leicester, which has a much higher Covid-19 infection rate than anywhere else in the country, in its first major attempt to curb an outbreak with local rather than national measures.
  • The number of reported new cases of Covid-19 in Ireland has begun to increase in a “worrying” trend, the chief medical officer warned, which could halt plans for further easing of restrictions.At least six fresh diagnoses were associated with international travel, the government’s top health advisers said, as they reiterated warnings against encouraging overseas tourism too soon.
  • Abu Dhabi will allow people to enter the emirate if they have tested negative for coronavirus in the previous 48 hours, the local government media office said on Monday.Abu Dhabi, the largest and wealthiest member of the United Arab Emirates federation, has had a ban on people entering since 2 June.
  • Iran reports its highest daily death toll. Iran reported 162 more deaths from Covid-19, the highest single-day toll since the country’s outbreak began in February.
  • Daily new cases in India near 20,000 as Mumbai extends lockdown. India reported close to 20,000 new Covid-19 cases for the second day running on Monday, as the financial hub of Mumbai extended its lockdown by a month.
  • China ‘seals off’ more than 400,000 in Anxin county to tackle small Covid-19 cluster. Authorities have put almost half a million people in Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing, under lockdown as fresh outbreak in the capital fans fears of a second wave of the coronavirus .
  • US visitors set to remain banned from entering EU. Most US visitors are set to remain banned from entering the European Union because of the country’s rising infection rate in a move that risks antagonising Donald Trump.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jun 30 2020, 11:52

Melbourne investigates quarantine breaches

Simon Atkinson - BBC News, Sydney
The state of Victoria is reintroducing lockdown for 10 postcode areas around Melbourne after a spike in cases of Covid-19. The restrictions come in from 23:59 local time on Wednesday and will last for four weeks.
People living in those areas will have to stay at home unless going to work, school, caregiving or essential shopping.
Victoria reported another 64 cases in the past 24 hours after a ramping up of testing. And while these numbers may seem tiny compared to in some parts of the world, the state premier Daniel Andrews said it was "unacceptably high".
"If we don’t do this now, I won’t be locking down 10 postcodes, I’ll be locking down all postcodes. We need every Victorian family to follow the rules."
Mr Andrews said genomic sequencing had revealed that a significant number of the state’s fresh cases could traced back to staff working in quarantine hotels who breached health protocols. A former judge will be brought in to investigate what has happened.
He has asked that Melbourne gets no international flights for the next two weeks - conceding there has been "failure" in the hotel quarantine operation with an "infection control breakdown".

LA to close beaches for 4 July weekend

Beaches in Los Angeles County will be closed over America's Independence Day weekend in an effort to prevent crowding, local authorities have said.
All public beaches, piers, car parks, bike paths and beach access points will be shut off in America's largest county from midnight on 3 July til 05:00 on 6 July local time.
It comes after more than 2,900 cases were reported there on Monday - the county's biggest single-day rise since the pandemic began.

Hancock: Targeted measures didn't work in Leicester

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the government will change the law in order to enforce the local coronavirus lockdown in Leicester.
It is the first UK city to have stricter lockdown measures reimposed which will see non-essential shops shut and schools closed for most of the pupils in the city.
Hancock told BBC Breakfast that officials were trying to understand why the outbreak had been so bad in the city, adding: “We really do have a very Leicester-specific outbreak and that’s why I have taken the action I have”.
Asked why the government's response had taken so long after Mr Hancock first mentioned the outbreak 11 days ago, the health secretary said they had tried to put in place targeted measures, such as extra testing and going into the affected workplaces.
"These sorts of much more targeted measures have worked in other outbreaks."
He added: “Unfortunately that targeted action wasn’t working in Leicester and that’s why we’ve taken these much broader measures.”

Leicester lockdown map 'being refined'

The big question in Leicester is: Where does the geography of the lockdown start and end?
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Monday night that exact details of which parts of Leicestershire are included in the new lockdown measures will be published "imminently".
He said the measures would apply not just to the city of Leicester but also the surrounding areas including, for example, Oadby, Birstall and Glenfield.
Leicestershire County Council said it was working on the details of this with Public Health England.
BBC reporter Rob Sissons says he understands the government was "refining the map last night" and it would be "designed to extensively cover the area where there's been a surge".
Leicestershire MP Alberto Costa said the delay on the clarification of restrictions was "frustrating"

Leicester travel restrictions 'not law at this stage'

As part of the tightening of coronavirus restrictions in Leicester, people have been advised to avoid all but essential travel to, from, and within Leicester - and to "stay at home as much as you can".
The government is recommending against travel “but we are not putting that in place in law at this stage”, said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
Leicester Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said he “very much hoped” people in the city would follow the guidelines.
He told BBC Breakfast: "It would be very difficult to draw a clear boundary around a city like Leicester where the administrative boundary is pretty much invisible."
He added that people needed to take the new restrictions "very seriously" and that "by abiding by them, we’ll come out of the end of this much more quickly than would otherwise be the case”.
Read more about the new rules.

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Post by Kitkat on Tue Jun 30 2020, 12:02

South Korea dismisses 'herd immunity' hopes

Laura Bicker - BBC News
Health officials in South Korea have concluded that the idea of a community forming herd immunity from Covid-19 is "wishful thinking".
The Deputy Director of the Korean Centre for Disease Control (KCDC), Kwon Jun-wook, said the organisation had come to that conclusion after analysing both domestic and international data.
South Korea has started antibody tests in random samples of the population to find out the true infection rate within the country. The serology tests will examine the blood of around 6,000 people to find out who has immunity to the virus. These tests will be conducted every two months and will be completed by the end of the year.
So far, in random blood tests of over 1,500 people, officials found that 0.1% of the samples had anti-bodies for Covid-19.
This would suggest that nearly 50,000 people have had coronavirus in South Korea when only 12,800 have so far tested positive for the disease.
The KCDC has emphasised that these are only initial findings and not conclusive at this stage.

UK economy hit worse than first thought

The UK economy shrank more than first thought between January and March, contracting 2.2% in the joint largest fall since 1979, official figures show.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revised down its previous estimate of a 2% contraction, with all the main economic sectors dropping. There was a significant economic impact in March, as the coronavirus pandemic began to have an effect.
The data comes as the prime minister is set for a major speech on the economy .

Death rate back to normal in the UK

The number of deaths in the UK returned to normal in the week of 19 of June.
There were 10,681 deaths across the UK, eight fewer the five-year-average for that week.
There were 849 Covid-19 registered deaths, which was the lowest since the first week of lockdown.

Cautious optimism as UK death rate 'back to normal'

Robert Cuffe - BBC head of statistics
There were 10,681 deaths registered across the UK in the week of 19th June.
That’s just eight fewer than the average number for that week over the last five years.
When we’ve seen single weeks with thousands of deaths more than would be expected, these is welcome news.
Coronavirus - 30th June 0f46a110

There were still hundreds of Covid-19 deaths during the week - 849 - but that’s the lowest since the first week of lockdown.
There are two notes of caution.
After a mild winter, we had seen fewer deaths than expected by March, so it’s hard to say where we would have been by now without coronavirus.
And when you look back at deaths in countries that are through the first wave, among whom we can start to make early comparisons, the UK features consistently in the hardest hit.
Coronavirus - 30th June 3f183210

Afghanistan’s war-ravaged hospitals overwhelmed

Secunder Kermani - BBC News
As coronavirus spreads in Afghanistan, the cracks in the country's healthcare system - already weakened by decades of war - are starting to show.
Concerns have been raised about the supply of oxygen and other resources to government hospitals. One doctor in Kabul has described patients' families having to "fight for oxygen" when cylinders arrived, before bringing it to the intensive care unit themselves.
About 31,000 infections have been recorded in Afghanistan to date. Close to half of all tests conducted so far have been positive, one of the highest rates in the world.
Read more here.

Senegal lifts coronavirus state of emergency

Seydina Alioune Djigo - BBC News, Dakar
Senegalese President Macky Sall has said a state of emergency and nighttime curfew imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus will be lifted from Tuesday.
In a televised address, the president also announced the resumption of international flights from 15 July but under stringent safety measures.
The closure of public markets one day per week for cleaning will continue. Wearing face masks remains mandatory in public spaces, workplaces, public transport and shops.
The president is himself under a two-week quarantine after he came into contact with an infected person. His quarantine ends next week.
Senegal has so far confirmed 6,698 cases and 108 deaths.

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